2023 fantasy baseball relief pitcher rankings: Is an elite closer worth drafting?

2023 fantasy baseball relief pitcher rankings: Is an elite closer worth drafting?

The bet.NOLA.com fantasy baseball rankings concludes with relief pitchers, a position that’s become tricky to navigate with fewer teams having a set closer.

It’s important to note that designated closers aren’t the only relief pitchers worth drafting, as oftentimes it’s better to draft the reliever with the most upside on their team since they usually work their way up to pitching in the ninth inning.

That’s why it’s usually best to wait until the middle rounds or later to draft relievers, especially with save opportunities being hit-or-miss even for the elite closing options.

We’ve got the top 20 relief pitchers ranked, including the position’s No. 1 option, the top breakout candidate, the top bust candidate and a deep sleeper.


No. 1 option

Edwin Diaz, Mets

Diaz is coming off the most dominant season of his career and has established himself as the cream of the crop of ninth inning specialists. Guardians closer Emmanuel Clase isn’t far behind, but Diaz’s elite strikeout ability combined with a sub-2 ERA make him worth a selection in the first five rounds, but it’s still somewhat pricey since save opportunities can be volatile even for someone as reliable as him. We hope that the injury Diaz suffered in the World Baseball Class isn’t as serious as feared, but make sure to keep a close eye on his status before drafting.

Breakout Candidate

Felix Bautista, Orioles

The Orioles have had one of the worst groups of relief pitchers in recent seasons, but they appear to have found a closer for years to come in Bautista, who thrived when asked to take over ninth inning duties in the second half of last season. While the sample size is small, Bautista was dominant enough to where he should break out with a full season’s worth of save chances for an improved Orioles team.

Bust Candidate

Daniel Bard, Rockies

Bard’s comeback story is nothing short of remarkable, and he’s made the most of it by becoming the Rockies’ undisputed closer. The issue here though is that Bard’s numbers from last season appear unsustainable considering his home park is a hitter’s haven and that the Rockies likely won’t win enough games for him to accumulate the saves needed to make him fantasy viable.

Deep sleeper

Evan Phillips, Dodgers

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has declined to name a closer for 2023, but the answer seems clear and obvious given how unhittable Phillips was last season in a high-leverage relief role. While he lacks closing experience, Phillips clearly has the stuff needed to shut the door on teams in the ninth inning and should see plenty of opportunities with his main competition being journeyman Daniel Hudson.


1. Edwin Diaz, Mets*

2. Emmanuel Clase, Guardians

3. Devin Williams, Brewers

4. Jordan Romano, Blue Jays

5. Josh Hader, Padres

6. Ryan Pressly, Astros

7. Ryan Helsley, Cardinals

8. Raisel Iglesias, Braves

9. Felix Bautista, Orioles

10. Camilo Doval, Giants

11. Kenley Jansen, Red Sox

12. Clay Holmes, Yankees

13. David Bednar, Pirates

14. Alexis Diaz, Reds

15. Evan Phillips, Dodgers

16. Daniel Bard, Rockies

17. Jhoan Duran, Twins

18. Jose Leclerc, Rangers

19. Andres Munoz, Mariners

20. Scott Barlow, Royals

*- Diaz’s status is uncertain after he suffered a knee injury during the WBC


Corner Infielders (1B/3B)


About Mary Weyand 20301 Articles
Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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